The designer is just waiting for Bravo to do a Real Housewives of East Hampton.Cynthia Rowley is a little bit county, a little bit rock and roll. Except in her case, the country is Montauk and the rock and roll is NYC. You can see the friction between the disparate moods of these places become completely at ease in her collections. The fashion designer is a well-known swell chaser (though she says she’ll take her secret home break-in Montauk any day). She’s a fashion designer who’d rather not wear shoes, a beach bum who’s in her third decade of Fashion Weeks, a Mom and an adventurer. We asked her about pool floaties, reality television (she was once a host), and what’s in her Jit-Kit.
We have one day to eat, drink and sleep in the East End and NYC, where are we going?
Cynthia Rowley: The perfect day out east is a big breakfast at Naturally Good or Joni’s. For an after-surf snack, stop at Gosman’s Fish Market for today’s catch and a glass of Hampton Water rosé. Surf Lodge always has a good early concert that gets me warmed up for some grilling at home. And for extra credit, if things are getting crazy, we might peel off and go to Liar’s Saloon for an ice-cold beer on tap.
For NYC, where do I start? I try to stay in my hood or Brooklyn—a quick stop at Cha Cha Matcha before work, Village Den for a healthy breakfast, Bar Pitti, Morandi, or Rosemary’s Pizza for a great dinner, and Paul’s Casa Blanca for cocktails.
Best advice for getting back and forth from the City to out east? And how to avoid getting motion sickness on the Jitney.
CR: Avoid rush hour at all costs! BLADE changed my life. There’s nothing more magical than taking off in a chopper with a sippy cup full of rosé and good music. My budget doesn’t ALWAYS allow for that, so I have my “Jit-Kit:” sleep mask, big scarf, podcasts… and I can get tons of work done.
How much inspiration for your designs do you get from your environment? What inspires you most from your surroundings?
CR: Inspiration is a weird thing, you never know where or when something’s going to pop into your head. I love to travel, the more extreme the better. I’m really excited because I’m just about to leave for Senegal to surf and soak up the local color. All of these experiences always find a way into my creative process and somehow turn into a mashup of color and pattern. To see all of our adventures, follow us on Insta (@cynthiarowley).
If you had an hour to surf wherever you wanted anywhere between Montauk Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty, where would you go?
CR: Well, since I really hate to wear shoes on the weekend, I love my secret spot right by my house.
Montauk will always be my happy place. Being in the water is my own form of meditation.
The best way to enjoy the Hamptons is? Pool floaties?
CR: Get out and go to Montauk!
The East End and the City have very distinct feelings, what does each place evoke in you?
CR: I’m definitely a city girl and love the hustle and grit of NYC, but Montauk will always be my happy place. Being in the water is my own form of meditation. Sometimes it feels like Hawaii, and there’s nothing like escaping to paradise.
Inspiration is a weird thing, you never know where or when something’s going to pop into your head.
What’s the best part of how the City and the East complement one another?
CR: Good food, great friends, and tons of fun.
Does any TV show paint an accurate picture of either place?
CR: Waiting for Bravo to do the Real Housewives of East Hampton…